Monthly Archives: November 2009

Algorithm Fail

I was voting in College Humor’s Halloween costume contest and here are “two” I was asked to vote on. How embarrassing that the two of them chose the exact same costume. There are some great costumes though (and a $1000 prize) so I spent a bit too long clicking mindlessly.


(I mean, how embarrassing for their programmer)

In good news, I finally have the appointment I have been wanting to start figuring out what’s wrong with the muscles in my legs this afternoon. I don’t like the neuropathic pain that I got after my bone tumor was removed, but I can live with it. The muscles in my thigh breaking down on the other hand — symptomatic of something worse, or even just on its own — can be very hard to cope with and negatively affects my life and I’m very hopeful that I’m starting on a path today that will lead to a solution. Plus waking up at three or four in the morning and being unable to sleep from the pain sucks — although it has greatly expanded the number of movies I have watched.

Other than that, Nefarious and I have continued experimenting with new fairy chess pieces. We’ve tried adding a cluster of four “demons” to the center of the board. These demons can be moved one square in any direction, and can capture in that same way. The interesting thing about these demons is that either player can move them… So what they mostly form is a “black hole” that needs to be avoided. The other new piece is the “bomb”, which again moves one square at a time. It can not take other pieces, but it can explode, and this explosion kills everything within a one square radius — including itself, and including friendly pieces. Additionally, bombs should not be taken (although they can), because if they’re taken, they explode. I’m not sure yet how these pieces will work, because in the games we’ve used them they’ve disappeared early so their effect on the game has been minimal. To be honest, the real winners are the cannons, the jokers, and the arch-bishops, which all weigh heavily into our play.

I think next, perhaps tonight if I have time, I want to start experimenting with new board designs. Caitlin has started reading Nefarious the Harry Potter series, so this morning she had lots of questions for me about cats and witches and a universe that I know nothing about… I will have to read some of the chapters just to keep up with the dialog. Anyway… I should get to programming before that doctor’s appointment, so I’m not going to bother proof reading this, so you will perhaps get to see just how much grammatical nonsense appears when I don’t triple-check things.

Winter Boots

Normally it is Caitlin blogging about her pretty new boots but today it is me. There is cause for excitement, as these are in fact my first winter boots in a great many years. Perhaps in fifteen or twenty years, believe it or not! I got a pair of Smith and Wesson Defender police duty boots. They’re super warm, comfortable, waterproof, and fairly inexpensive, so no more wet winter days because all I have to wear are my old Converse sneakers!


Caitlin is currently making fun of me for blogging about footwear.

Too bad! Let me have my time of pleasure!

Craigslist City/Country CSV List

I’m rewriting my Craigslist search tool both to improve it for my own needs, and to improve it for the needs of law enforcement in tracking down stolen property. As a part of that development, I wrote a quick tool which automatically browses all of the Craigslist “geo” pages, which list the separate sites for the different ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2 country codes around the world. It then parses them all (taking into account 404 pages for countries without sites, 302 pages for countries with a single default city, and countries that contain numerous sites) and outputs a comma separated file in the following format:

  "AE","United Arab Emirates","Default",""
    ...and so on.

As you can see this can easily be imported into database or spreadsheet software, as well as your own creations. As of today, there are 706 sites in all. Here are the downloads for you if you want them:

  • MakeCityList.exe – The win32 executable, which should be run from the command line. It will also run under WINE in Linux.
  • CLcitylist.csv – This is the data file generated by the program, listing all the different Craigslist sites as of November 2nd, 2009.

Hope this is helpful to someone. I’ll release the new version of the search tool itself in a week or two most likely. It already has some major improvements (and is a top-to-bottom rewrite) over the old one, but if anyone has wish features, now is the time to tell me. I’m happy to share source code — if you want it, just email me — although I suspect anyone who’d be interested in the source code could write this tool in the time it would take me to reply to your email!

He who smelt it

I cooked up some smelt for supper today (which is always a delight), battered lightly with olive oil and flour, and served alongside rice, broccoli, onions, and zucchini (and on my plate, an ill-fitting chipotle sauce that I regretted). I like smelt not just from childhood fish fry nostalgia — fundraisers for the local volunteer fire department — but also because smelt is a healthy under-fished creature that one can eat not having to worry that you’re destroying the environment. It also helps that it’s one of the cheapest fish you can eat — this pile cost us three dollars, making it a pretty inexpensive meal.



I also dropped off some artwork for my backpiece at my tattoo artist’s today… It’s a sort of Hellboy-ish space-going secret u-boat base under Antarctica Third-Reich with UFOs, occultism, and giant robots piece. I will share pictures of the tattoo itself when it gets started in couple weeks, but this below should give you an idea of the direction it’s going. I can’t wait to get started, although it’ll be odd because this is the first tattoo on me that I can’t easily see! We are of course being very careful to make it a sci-fi theme because I don’t want anyone to think it’s a Nazi tattoo!